It was in his eyes. The day was sunny but in my friends home the lighting seemed to reflect a stormy mood, something grave – a broken heart.
There is nothing like the gaze of a father who has found out that his child has made some mistakes. A series of poor decisions exposed. A child whose pride is confused by the pain and angst of parental worry. Dark moments brought into the light.
So it was with Jesus on an ill-tempered day. As Jesus was teaching in the temple, He must have heard the roar of an angry mob coming at him. The Scribes and Pharisees pushing a women forward with acquisitions.
“Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” (John 8:4-5 ESV)
Jesus is not the type to shy away from a family squabble. Like clockwork, he enters in to the danger zone. His focus – laser sharp. The problem in this case, to Him, was not what we might think. No matter the challenging situations we all face, everyone can learn to lead better in life by understanding the actions of Jesus as he confronted His child’s sin.
Jesus said, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” (John 8:7b ESV)
In saying this, He is not in any way denying the law rather looking at the greater sin. This greater sin was found in the hearts of the accusers. To Jesus the issue is way bigger than adultery.
We are offered a reminder that we all fall short of perfection yet are never beyond grace.
Disgusted, intimidated, or embarrassed you can decide. This religious crew who set out to test Jesus ends up crawling away with a lesson about their own hearts.
“Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned ?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” (John 8:10-11 ESV)
Turning his gaze, he asks if anyone is still accusing her. Jesus can see the pain of indiscretion. Talk about pain and angst of parental worry. However, Jesus does something radical. He forgives.
“Neither do I condemn you.”
These words from heaven have a profound healing effect on her. This forgiveness, at the level of the soul, only comes from God. Jesus stamps her soul with a single word…Loved.
Not finished Jesus gracefully and with Truth, addresses the reality of the sin.
“Go and sin no more.”
Did anyone catch that? She is guilty! In spite of the facts, she receives forgiveness. However, not without warning as we know that, in life, we reap what we sow. All sin leads to death. Jesus tells her to knock it off. A command that is best not ignored.
I wish I had the perfect words to comfort friends who are struggling in matters of the heart. Love often leaves us with only pain filled tears. Our reality is that offenses have consequences. No matter what we are leading we are forced to deal with the junk. Like Eli and his troublesome sons. (1 Samuel 3:4)
Yet, in my heart I wish Jesus would visit. Sit down and comfort my friends – perhaps share a few war stories about those “crazy” kids. God’s touch is needed way more than mine. The kind that Christ offers to those broken by the pain of sin yet willing to listen.